DEAD SEA, ISRAEL -- Ted Turner and his wife Jane Fonda landed so
close to the Dead Sea that they could almost taste the salt. The celebrated couple, known
for their frenetic lifestyle, came to Israel - and especially to the Moriah Plaza Dead Sea
Hotel - in search of pure rest. They got it.
From the moment they arrived they were in good company, Biblically speaking. All right,
so publicists weren't around 4,000 years ago to promote the Dead Sea as a vacation spot,
yet it immediately caught on as a place famous for its health cures and relaxation.
Consider this: Cleopatra baked there in its rich black mud. King Herod rejuvenated himself
in the mineral water, while the Queen of Sheeba used Dead Sea salts for therapeutic
What'll It Be?
So what would it be for Turner and Fonda? A dip in the sulfur pool ($13) providing the
body with vital minerals? A skin-nourishing mud pack ($29)? Inhalation treatments ($9) to
soothe headaches? Or, would the twosome merely end up as most visitors have -- just
bobbing up and down in the unsinkable water? (no charge)
The question is addressed by Shraga Kelson, the hotel's Spa Manager.
Kelson, who since
1986 has made it his business to know every bobber, runs through the therapeutic effects
of floating effortlessly in the Dead Sea.
"When there's no gravity, your body has a chance to relax, and the stress
goes away. That's it. We've even more astonishing results with psoriasis and rheumatoid
sufferers. But don't take my word. Every person here will tell you that water therapy
works so quickly, that your chronic soreness isn't so chronic anymore. Perhaps the biggest
surprise is to watch how so many people undergo a personality change, once they're no
longer in pain."
Jane Fonda may not have recycled her personality while at the Dead Sea, but she
certainly luxuriated in its non-stress environment. For unlike any other tourist
attraction, the Dead Sea occupies the lowest point on earth (1,290' below sea level), and
has the deepest concentration of minerals of any place in the world. With 50% more
concentrated bromine, you sleep soundly. With 15% more magnesium than the ocean, your skin
is toned and refreshed. Combine all this with lower altitude, high temperatures, low
rainfall and pollen-free atmosphere, and presto! - the dry and oxygen-rich air will work
on your body and soul.
What Did You Say Your Name Was?
"I have worked on so many bodies of celebrities, athletes, politicians, and
CEOs" says Sara, the owner of the renowned Beauty Shop in the Moriah Plaza Dead Sea
Hotel, "that I can never remember all their names."
Sara, the no-nonsense Rumanian-born expert-owner, has been in the beauty business for
"Jane Fonda. Sylvester Stallone. Jodie Foster. I've helped them all."
She smiles a tranquil smile and continues working on a French woman who signed up for a
mini-lift costing $46 - the salon's most popular treatment that works on all aspects of
the face and neck.
"Here," she says, handing the client a mirror that magnifies every
crinkle, crease, and crevice. "Do you see this?" Sara intones. The mirror does
all the talking.
"Will the treatment take very long?" the customer asks.
"You can't measure beauty in time," comes the reply. Then, before the
guest can ask more questions, her face is silenced - stiffened by a masque of herbs and
"Now you will relax," Sara says, and pulls the curtain tightly around her for
Foster In Foster Grants
From another part of the shop comes a voice: "Remember what happened with Jodie
Foster?" Sara looks straight ahead and then smoothes back her grey-toned hair, which
allows the visitor a better glimpse at her flawless complexion.
"Was Jodie the one with sunglasses?" she asks.
Yes, that was the one, and she proceeds to tell the story of a shy, quiet young woman
who wanted a facial while wearing sunglasses and a big hat.
"And I told her this was out of the question. But she persisted. Then she revealed
her name and said she didn't want any fans to bother her. So I asked my daughter in
Hebrew: 'Who is she?'
"My daughter laughed. 'Mother, you don't know Jodie Foster? She just won
the Academy Award!'
"Okay, so I pulled the curtain around her, and physically removed her sunglasses
and hat. Then we got going."
The bell rings and Sara goes back to her French patron whose restorative masque has
made her look like an extra from a Science Fiction flick. Within minutes, she emerges from
the chrysalis and appears ten years younger.
"After their wrinkles disappear and they feel youthful again, they usually
come to me," claims Professor Yehuda Kedar. In 1969, the Israeli worked in Houston
with NASA's astronauts, but today, the septuagenarian has his office in the Moriah and
dedicates himself to improving the quality of a person's life.
"My system is so easy," he begins. "It's a combination of correct
physical activities, proper nutrition, and cardiac relaxation." He has been trying to
sell his program to Israelis, but his greatest pupils remain Europeans and Americans.
Kedar, a Human Ecologist, points out that his country's greatest killer is not
politics, but heart disease. "It's amazing to think that in Israel 100 people die
daily from heart-related illnesses. No wonder. They overeat and smoke and never think it
will be a problem. That's when I tell them, 'Your body doesn't belong to you. It belongs
to your husband, your wife, your children.'
"In just one visit I can teach a 3-minute walk that will save your life. I
can also take you through a Guided Imagination System that has a permanent calming effect.
So? In a short space of time you'll feel like new."
Everything but the Skin Damage
Dorian Kathein, Moriah Plaza's General Manager, agrees with the professor. "We
have it all," brags the 35-year-old Sabra (native born Israeli). "Look at our
location. Two and one half hours from Jerusalem by car, two hours away to the Red Sea and
Eilat, and only twenty minutes to Masada (the heroic Jewish stronghold dating back to the
"I'd say here we have everything except skin damage. The oxygen-rich atmosphere
filters out the ultra violet rays, so you never burn, just tan.
"We're doing such a good job that our business is 95% repeaters," declares
Kathein, "regulars, who, after spending 14 days turn around and say, 'See you in six
Have Fonda and Turner been back? Kathein points to the private air strip
outside the 4 star resort. With typical Israeli bravado he adds, "If they know what's
good for them."